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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, this is my first post so I hope I am posting in the right spot!
Anyways,
I am looking to upgrade to a pro level horn here soon and I just wanted to know about what models are really a good bang for your buck. I'm already aware of selmers and yamaha's. I have tried pro level horns on both sides of the spectrum, I don't like how selmer's feel. I love how yamahas feel though. I was actually going to buy a 62 II a couple months ago but my plan fell through because of some financial problems. I have a max budget of $3000. I am looking to go used. I just wanted some other opinions on good pro level horns, I am majoring in music in college and need a flexible horn for both jazz and classical. Right now my top two horns are the yamaha 62 or 62 II or the yamaha ex875. If you can think of any other models that are competitive for the price let me know!
Thanks
John
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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You can get a GOOD horn in that range. I would suggest playing several brands, Yani, Yamaha, Selmers, Keilwerths, and see what you prefer, then buy a good USED horn.
 

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I'll assume you're paying an arm and a leg for your college education?

Why not get some return on that and ask your professor, tutors and professional colleagues?

You'll get a hundred different responses here and they'll cover every make and model from Selmer to Sum Young Guy. And it's all gonna amount to try em all and see which one floats your boat.
 

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Yeah, you gotta try 'em to find out what works for you. If you're gonna go used, you can also go vintage and get an excellent horn for about half your budget. But if you're a music major in college, you'll have to deal with what other students and faculty consider"acceptable" brands. For some of us, something like a vintage Martin or a Buescher in excellent condition is as good as it gets and better than a modern horn. But your fellow horn players and teachers may not see it that way and you'll be constantly dealing with their disapproval of your horn. You might as well find out what the approved brands and models are and look for a used one of them.

Edit: probably Yamaha and Yanigasawa. I have no idea. Maybe Keilwerth? It's actually an interesting question, now that I think of it. I wonder what the approved brands and models are at the top music schools.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I agree Yamahas are great, especially the 62. But if you can find a good used P.Mauriat 66R that would probably what you want in regard to beat bang for buck.

I have also liked some Yanagisawas.

But I do also agree wholeheartedly with people who have been saying you have to try them out. Once you get to that level, you know what suits you and what doesn't. Just buying because of a reccomendation may not be a good solution.
 

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You will definitely get more 'bang' if you buy a good condition used horn. Also, if you've got $3000 to spend, you should spend it all and consider it an investment. In other words, you can get great playing used horns for $900, but the Big 4 brands give back in other ways than just performance.

I assume youre buying an alto -- I'd strongly suggest you look at Selmer SA80ii and Yanagisawa 99x in addition to the 875ex Yamaha. You can pretty much get what you want for $3000, just try it first and make sure you really like it.
 

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The Yamaha 82Z is a great horn, and a much better bet for classical playing than a Keilwerth. Many college teachers are insistent on students in their studio playing a French-style alto for a "proper" classical alto sound .... I don't hassle my students about it but I know many teachers that do including one I studied with in college.

As far as bang for your buck, I would check out some Taiwanese makers like P.Mauriat & Viking. I play a Viking M58 that is a VERY good Selmer Balanced Action copy....blows away the purple logo Yamaha 62 I played in college. It's not as good as a handful of vintage Selmers I've played over the years, but I like it better than any Yamaha or Yanagisawa I've played. Taiwanese horns are still at the point where they depreciate a lot once they're not new any more, which means you can pick a great used horn up for peanuts!

A seller on SOTW is currently selling a hardly played Viking M58 alto for $1100, which is about half of what they go for new. As far as bang for your buck that's you're winner right there! Used P.Mauriats can be a great deal too, although I like their tenors WAY more than their altos. A used top of the line Jupiter is also a pretty smoking horn believe it or not, and great for both classical and jazz.
 

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You note an unfortunate reality in the education world (teachers insisting on their students spending their own $ on a particular make of horn) which really should have become extinct a long time ago. It reflects not so much on the instruments themselves, as on the stodginess and conservatism which still exists in music academia.

I am none too impressed by the newer-entry Taiwanese middle-top shelf offerings of today. Personally don't feel either Mauriat or Viking can really hold a candle to either an upper-shelf Yama or Yani.
Tonally, they just aren't as refined (I actually find both downright sonically unimpressive); mechanically, the jury is still out....but nothing wrong with trying some of those as well, even the Jupe.

I would NOT discredit J. Keilwerth right off the bat, either. For a college horn, most people do...and I think that's a bit of a mistake. Try some of those as well. They may well be too not-in-the-pocket for legit playing, but I have known some pros who like them very much in that context, too....

You have the buck$, you have the time....you can try a lotta great horns. Have fun !
 

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Hi, this is my first post so I hope I am posting in the right spot!
Anyways,
I am looking to upgrade to a pro level horn here soon and I just wanted to know about what models are really a good bang for your buck. I'm already aware of selmers and yamaha's. I have tried pro level horns on both sides of the spectrum, I don't like how selmer's feel. I love how yamahas feel though. I was actually going to buy a 62 II a couple months ago but my plan fell through because of some financial problems. I have a max budget of $3000. I am looking to go used. I just wanted some other opinions on good pro level horns, I am majoring in music in college and need a flexible horn for both jazz and classical. Right now my top two horns are the yamaha 62 or 62 II or the yamaha ex875. If you can think of any other models that are competitive for the price let me know!
Thanks
John
Alto or tenor?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
woops, alto. That's some useful information I should add haha. Martin, I am deffinitely interested in looking at vintage horns, I've heard some things about King horns, and was wondering if you knew if they were good horns? And I absolutely agree with the trying things out, It's just the nearest sax shop I have is an hour and a half away and I want to be well prepared to spend a day trying out what they have.
 

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Martin, I am deffinitely interested in looking at vintage horns, I've heard some things about King horns, and was wondering if you knew if they were good horns?
Your question indicates that you need to do some serious research. You can start here on SOTW.

Some people favor the King horns. I have no experience with them, although I did play a King Zephyr bari once and liked it. Many people think of the King Super 20 "Silver-Sonic" as the holy grail of vintage horns.

http://www.saxquest.com/museumPopGallery.asp?SpecUID=309&view=All
 

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Kings can be great for jazz and R&B if you find one you can play in tune. They make for a horrible classical horn though. I would stick to modern horns at this stage....If you're going to go vintage wait until you've developed more as a player and have a clearer idea of exactly what you're looking for in a horn.
 

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Just wanted to add something about ergonomics regarding Yanagisawa VS Yamaha. I own an 82Z Alto and a S901 Soprano, and I have to say that the Yanagisawa left pinky table is A LOT nicer to navigate than the Yamaha (not to say that the Yamaha is a beast). The Yanagisawa has these cool bridges and stuff in the left hand pinky table that makes it a total cinch to move from low Bb key to B / low Bb to C#

That being said, it's not like the Yamaha left hand pinky table is some insurmountable mountain I have to struggle against every time I play.

Just my two cents worth.
 
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